Eskdale Mill & Heritage Trust

Eskdale Mill & Heritage Trust

At a glance


  • Museums / heritage

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The Trust is a company limited by guarantee. Its objects are (1) preservation & development of the 16th century Eskdale water corn mill at Boot, Eskdale, Cumbria, being of particular historical & architectural interest, & (2) advancement of public education in the history, heritage, geography & geology of Eskdale.

The beneficiaries are members of the public who visit the mill. The Trust makes the mill available to visitors, currently via a self-employed custodian. The mill dates from at least Tudor times, is the last remaining working water corn mill in the Lake District National Park, a grade 2* listed building, & the only industrial archaeology visitor attraction in Eskdale (apart from the miniature railway - see below). It has 2 waterwheels (1 currently working), & retains most of its 18th century, wooden internal machinery.


Since formation, the Trust has owned and maintained the site, but day-to-day control of the mill has rested with the resident, self-employed custodian, who is the Trust's tenant of both the mill & the miller's cottage. He has been in post since before the Trust's ownership began, but will retire in February 2016.

Thanks to help from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Lake District National Park Communities Fund, the Trust has recently obtained a buildings condition report & a specialist millwright's report, both with cost estimates. We also commissioned an options appraisal for the mill's future management, which includes a draft business plan. The preferred option is to appoint a new resident custodian, who will be an employee rather than a tenant, after completion of substantial works of repair & conservation. Following an encouraging preliminary meeting with the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are about to apply to them for a capital development & activities project, costing over £500,000. The 1st phase application is currently being professionally written, again resourced by LDNPA's Communities Fund.

The project is likely to take at least 3 years to complete. Volunteers will keep the mill open to the public until the new custodian is appointed. There is considerable scope for improved presentation & activities, whilst preserving the mill's very special appeal, & for co-operation with local partners, particularly the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Co Ltd, which runs miniature steam trains up the valley to within a short distance of the mill.

As a separate project, the Trust has obtained planning & regulatory consents for the installation of a freestanding, modern waterwheel at the site, which will generate electricity & benefit from the feed-in tariff. It will provide not only power to the mill and cottage, & a vital income stream from sale of electricity to the grid, but also an additional and complementary educational resource for visitors.

Currently the Trust has 6 trustees & a group of 12 advisers. We expect to extend these numbers & also to recruit volunteers to assist in various aspects of running the mill.

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